Friday, 1 July 2011

Restaurant Review - Bocca di Lupo

There's not been much going on in the kitchen in the Dine at Mine household over the past few days, as we've been out most evenings. So instead of writing a cooking blog today, Greedy Gusto is going to write a review of one of our meals out. Ok, it's not really suitable for a blog called "Dine at Mine", but I'm going ahead with it anyway.

In the past week we've dined at our favourite Italian chain restaurant (Strada), our favourite burger restaurant (Byron - absolutely delicious), a random fish restaurant in Sandwich (on a weekend away in Kent), and at a friend's house. All very nice, but hardly worth writing a review about.

Luckily, we also went somewhere exciting, as this week saw the first anniversary of the day when Greedy Gusto asked Miss Dine at Mine to marry him. And, a year ago, on her third response, Miss Dine at Mine said yes!


We got engaged whilst on holiday in Florence, so we thought it appropriate to go to an Italian restaurant in London. And our choice was... Bocca Di Lupo in Soho, London.

It's a small restaurant, with only 14 tables, and these get booked up quite far in advance. We were only able to reserve a couple of seats at the chef's table, which is essentially a bar running along the side of the kitchen. The photo above shows the view from our seats. Not as comfortable as sitting at a proper table, but we really enjoyed being able to watch the chefs prepare all the dishes right in front of us.

Now to the important part of the review. The food! There is lots of choice on the menu, with dishes from all over Italy. And most of the dishes can be ordered either in small or large size. This means you can either choose to have one large dish for your meal, or a selection of small dishes.

We wanted to try as much as possible, so we went for a range of small dishes. This selection of five was a good sized meal for two:

  • Fried courgette flowers with courgette and anchovy
  • Shaved radish, celeriac & pecorino salad with pomegranates & truffle oil
  • Broad bean tortelloni with ricotta and basil
  • Roast pork & foie gras sausage with farro & porcini
  • Saltimbocca alla romana - veal escalope with parma ham, sage & Marsala

You can see all the dishes in the photo above (and apologies for the quality of the photography; we didn't take the proper camera, and were instead taking photos sneakily with my Samsung Galaxy S phone).

The fried courgette flower was delicious. You could really taste the flower and the cheese, and the batter wasn't too heavy. The tortelloni was also good - a really fresh flavour, and the pasta was cooked far more al dente than we ever do it, so it had a good bite to it. And the veal was simply delicious, particularly with the generous layer of parma ham on top.

The shaved radish salad was a nice side dish, providing a contrasting taste experience to the rest of the meal. But the truffle oil was too strong for our palates and took away from the enjoyment of the dish.

And finally the sausage. We were looking forward to this, but when it arrived, it was served pink. The photo below shows just how pink it is. The chef may want to serve it like this, but I don't want to eat it like this - I didn't like eating raw pork, and I didn't think it tasted as good as cooked pork.

However we loved the overall experience of dining at Bocca Di Lupo (helped by a couple of glasses of Prosecco to start followed by a carafe of Merlot).

We highly recommend sitting at the chef's table, and we'll definitely be going back in the future to try lots of the other dishes. We saw the Roast Suckling Pig & Grapes being prepared, and it looked amazing; though I'll be going for one of the Tagliata steaks. And there are plenty of other tempting dishes to be tried.

And finally, across the road from the restaurant is their sister shop Gelupo, where you can get an ice cream afterwards. We did this, and were a bit disappointed by the quality of the ice cream (it's not as good as the ice cream shops in Italy), but we'd go again.

So, Greedy Gusto's final verdict on Bocca Di Lupo... Thumbs up!

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